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Old 07-24-2016, 04:19 PM   #1
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Water Heater Continued Problem

I'm still having problems with my water heater and am very frustrated at my local service dealer. I took it in for service, they kept it for several weeks to fix the water heater and a few other issues. Water heater still has same issue so taking it back this week. It's a 6 gallon gas only Atwood water heater.

Issue: if water in tank is cold it will (most of the time) come on and heat the tank up and then shut off. When it attempts to come back on when needed it goes through the standard three try routine of lighting for a few seconds then shutting down. After three tries is stops. If I let it cool all the way down it usually, not always, comes back on and heats a tank of water. Temp is fine when it does heat. I took it in for service. Repair ticket says replaced thermostat, tested, ok. The symptom is exactly what I took it in for initially. Nothing has changed. Looking at the outside panel it does not appear that any work was done. The sticker over the thermostat opening looks untouched, connectors have normal dust on them and do not appear to have been removed, etc. Net - it does not look like anyone really worked on it from the outside.

I'm taking it back but question is - anyone had same issue before and what was solution. A water heater is not a complex device so has to be the thermostat or the sensor that sticks into the flame, I think. Is the thermostat hard to replace if I choose to do it myself? I have not removed the sticker/cover over the thermostat opening. Doesn't look like anyone has.

randy
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Old 07-24-2016, 05:06 PM   #2
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Randy,

Just wondering, how did you manage to get a gas only water heater? Most units I've seen for the last several years have been gas/electric. The only way I know to get a gas only unit is to special order...

I'm not quite sure what the issue would be. If the flame sensor was broken, it shouldn't light and stay lit during the heating cycle. The flame sensor opens the gas valve and allows gas to continue to flow. Have you tried standing by it during the ignition process when it begins a heating cycle---other than the first cycle? Can you smell gas flowing?

I don't think it's the thermostat. Seems to reason if it were, it wouldn't stop the heating cycle when it senses a hot enough temp, or it wouldn't start supplemental cycles when the water cools down.
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Old 07-24-2016, 06:27 PM   #3
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Yep, I've opened the outside panel and watched closely while it tries to light more times than I can count. Same each time - opens the gas valve, gas flows, gas ignites and burns for about 3 seconds then the gas shuts off. It repeats three times and then stops. That's a safety feature to keep it from simply letting gas flow which means it is not sensing that it's lit. That part is what confuses me since it senses that it's lit on the initial cycle but not subsequent cycles. I agree, don't see how a thermostat could cause that. The thermocouple is placed well into the flame area and is in the flame when it lights. It's a mystery...
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Old 07-24-2016, 06:45 PM   #4
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Trouble shooting guide:

Atwood Water Heater Troubleshooting
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:12 PM   #5
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Well, my problems just got worse, back to where I was actually. One of the several issues I had when I took it in for service is there was water dripping out of the bottom of the trailer. They claim they had to replace the plumbing in the floor from underneath. A water line was routed wrong, leaking, etc. I went out just now (it's parked in my driveway) and noticed not one but two water spots under the trailer. One dripping quite a lot. I can hear dripping noises echoing in the area around where the main drip is. Net, I still have a water leak in the wall or floor of the trailer. They claim that Jayco had them replace much of the plumbing under the floor from underneath. What a mess this is. We purchased this thing new back in the spring, have only made three trips in it, it's been in the shop for over 3 weeks and we now have to take it back. Our summer travel plans are now a disaster.
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Old 07-24-2016, 08:05 PM   #6
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The dealership "fixing" things is one of the main reasons I have never taken my trailer in for service. I figured I could break something just as well as any "technician" at a dealership, so I work on my own stuff. Of course, I'm also pretty handy and have a decent set of tools. PEX isn't all that hard to work with. You do have to pull off the undercoating though to get to the plumbing, and that's probably the hardest part.
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Old 07-24-2016, 08:18 PM   #7
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I would not let this problem keep me from camping, summer is winding down fast so I would try to fix it myself as justman said. If you don't want to try at least turn off the water supply to the HWT so it stops leaking if thats the source. Then you can enjoy some camping and just use the showers at the campground. In the mean time I would call the dealer and let them know that none of your problems were fixed and schedule an appt after camping season is done. I have given up on dealer service, takes to long so now I have them order the parts on Jaycos dime and I install them.
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Old 07-24-2016, 09:22 PM   #8
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Same here, I fix most everything around here - tractors, mowers, house appliances, plumbing, etc. Issue here is that dropping the holding tanks and ripping out the under carriage covering is not something I want to tackle for an expensive trailer that is only a few months old. I climbed underneath and the work involved is massive. It's coming from somewhere around or above the grey/black holding tanks. At least that is where the sound is coming from. Also, my wife is not physically able to use the showers at campsites, and would not want to. Not going to go off on a long trip with a crippled trailer - no hot water and leaking water all under the floor, insulation getting soaked, etc. Going to the dealership in the morning.
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:13 PM   #9
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I'm guessing the newer water heaters have a flame sensor instead of a thermocouple. What you are describing is exactly a bad flame sensor or connection back on the board. I'll have to look at mine and see what's in there. My last trailer was gas only and had a thermocouple. I know for residential furnaces the flame sensor isn't too expensive.
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